Juan Diego Flórez: Great Tenor Arias
Arias by Gluck (Orphée et Euridice), Verdi (Un giorno di
regno, Rigoletto), Rossini (Semiramide, L’italiana in Algeri), Donizetti
(La figlia del reggimento, Lucrezia Borgia), Halévy (La
Cimarosa (Il matrimonio segreto), Puccini (Gianni Schicchi).
Flórez, tenor, Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro di Milano Giuseppe Verdi,
Carlo Rizzi, cond.
London BP0003136 (F) (DDD) TT: 58:20.
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This is the third London recital disc of arias, sung by the superb
Peruvian tenor, Juan Diego Florez. The first was an all-Rossini recital,
by a disc of arias by Donizetti and Bellini. On this
most recent disc of “Great
Tenor Arias,” Rossini and Donizetti have an important presence, but
now they are joined by composers representing a broad cross-section of
the French and Italian repertoire—Gluck, Halévy, Cimarosa,
Verdi, and Puccini.
I very much enjoyed Florez’s first Rossini disc, which demonstrated
a brilliant technique, aligned with the performer’s obvious joy in
singing. Still, I felt the subsequent Donizetti-Bellini represented an
improvement over what was already a very impressive effort. I wrote:
"The winning enthusiasm and technical brilliance are still very much in
evidence…But on this occasion, these strengths are combined with
a vocal timbre that has become warmer and more varied, aligned with a plasticity
of phrasing that is at the heart of this repertoire… And his diction,
both in Italian and French, is crystal-clear." I did have a few reservations about the Donizetti-Rossini recital, noting: “While
Flórez sings with involvement and passion, he does not offer any
unique interpretive insights. And the voice occasionally loses a bit of
color at the conclusion of phrases.”
No such reservations apply to this new “Great Tenor Arias” recital.
All of Florez’s positive attributes are there, in spades. I’m
delighted to report that the voice has become even warmer and more attractive
than in the Donizetti-Bellini disc. And, unlike that recital, Florez maintains
the beautiful, melting quality from beginning to end of each and every
phrase (many demonstrating remarkable breath control). I also feel in this
recital that the tenor is now more “inside” the different characters
he portrays. The rendition of Orphée’s famous lament is a
near-perfect balance of pathos and classical elegance. By contrast, the
Duke’s famous aria is dashed off with tremendous verve and charm.
It’s also rewarding to hear Mr. Florez sing such a wide range of
lyric tenor repertoire (including some arias that aren’t recorded
all that often), and with such mastery of the various styles.
The recorded sound is excellent, with a natural ambience that shows Mr.
Florez’s attributes to best advantage, and presents a realistic between
singer and orchestra. Conductor Carlo Rizzi and the Orchestra Sinfonica
e Coro di Milano Giuseppe Verdi provide worthy support.
What a pleasure it is to hear a richly-talented young singer who refuses
to rest on his laurels, instead constantly searching to improve. That is
the mark of a great singer. And a great singer is precisely what Juan Diego
Floréz has now become.
K.M. (October 2004)